iPad Mini in Hand (Mockup)

It seems the sixth-generation iPhone isn't the only iOS device we have left to look forward to this year. Following reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, The New York Times is now weighing into the "iPad mini" rumor mill with information from its own sources. The 7.85-inch device we all doubted not so long ago is now looking increasingly likely.

According to the NYT, Apple is currently developing a smaller 7.85-inch iPad that is likely to sell for "significantly less" than the company's latest 9.7-inch device, which starts at $499. Several people familiar with Apple's plans, who chose not to be named for obvious reasons, claim the device will make its debut sometime this year — possibly alongside the new iPhone.

The device will reportedly be aiming to do battle with the 7-inch Android tablets currently entering the market — like the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire — which are both available for less than $200.

Although Apple's new iPad is expected to cost slightly more than this — possibly starting at $249 — it is thought that users will be happy to pay that bit extra for access to Apple's thriving ecosystem.

Would you be interested in an iPad mini?

[via The New York Times]